The writer of Ecclesiastes, "the preacher," challenges us to consider what life is truly like "under the sun" (the perspective of life apart from God). Again and again he concludes that it is meaningless ... merely a vapor ... frustrating ... without profit ... boring ... tiresome. We can all relate to this; we've all experienced these things in this fallen world in which we live. Everything we encounter in life has been damaged by the fall of man and is a potential source of frustration to us ... as we live life "under the sun." But the clear implication of God's Word is that we can live with a different perspective, a perspective that is above and beyond the sun, a perspective that actually factors a holy, sovereign, gracious, covenant-keeping God into the equation.
Throughout this study in Ecclesiastes, it's important for us to ask God to help us identify those things we try and substitute for God and His grace ... commonly known as idols. If we're not identifying and dealing with our idols then this study will be nothing more than some academic exercise in the futility that "the preacher" is warning us against; it will be frustrating, a "chasing after the wind." We'll see "the preacher" identifying such idols as wealth, power, religion, friends, work, and pleasure; we'll see that these things weren't satisfying back in Solomon's day and neither are they in our time. Our five senses (taste, touch, sight, hearing, smell) simply aren't sufficient to gain an "above the sun" perspective. We need to ask the Lord to develop in us another sense ... faith! Only in faith can we know the reality of God and the true satisfaction found exclusively in Him.
This week's study will examine the matter of wisdom and whether or not it can bring lasting satisfaction to a person. Specifically, we'll study Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 and 2:12-17. It will be important for us to get a handle on what "the preacher" means by "wisdom." It may or may not be what we expect! And in your reading, be sure and note that "the preacher" isn't condemning wisdom at all. In fact, he says it's much preferable than folly. But it's also not to be looked to as a substitute for God. Please read these passages and ask the Lord to prepare you for this lesson.